The Civil War in the Central African Republic has been raging since 2012. This war has ravaged an already weak and unstable country. In a post on Facebook, a priest recounted the terrors he and his parishioners suffered during the attack on their town on June 28. The attack on Zemio commenced when groups of unidentified armed men cut the phone lines into town and occupied the city. With the phones down, the only means of communication to and from the city was Wifi. So Father Jean-Alain Zembi made sure communication got out.
07/10/2017 Central African Republic (News24)- Libreville – “Heavy gunfire in Zemio. Impossible to go out. They have cut the phones and we can’t go out — it’s just too dangerous. So I am posting on Facebook.”
The sense of fear and urgency is palpable as Jean-Alain Zembi, a priest in Zemio, a southeastern parish in the Central African Republic (CAR), sends a stream of messages to his Facebook feed recounting the horror of ongoing violence.
“The information simply must get out as we are holed up here and the shooting is continuing”, Father Zembi, 33, told AFP in Libreville via Whatsapp on Tuesday.
His account of the violence in his parish came just hours before Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a report indicating armed groups had killed hundreds of civilians in a spree of bloodletting in CAR.
That report came just ahead of the impending opening of a Special Criminal Court, a new judicial body that will probe rights violations in the country since 2003.
According to HRW, investigators have found evidence of more than 560 civilian deaths and the destruction of more than 4 200 homes by militias since late 2014.